A new study by comScore shows that FaceBook is increasingly important even if that importance is hard to quantify. The study is clear that traditional metrics like click rates are anachronistic and a short sighted way for a brand to measure its FaceBook value. FaceBook’s, and other social networks, are shown by comScore to be important to future conversions, which is difficult to measure.
Starbucks was taken as a experiment and the effects of consumer purchases were measured against consumers that were not exposed to FaceBook as a Starbucks’ branding vehicle. Purchase intent rose by 38% as consumers were repeatedly exposed to Starbuck mentions and posts on FaceBook. FaceBook might not be good about sending people to websites, but it is a fantastic branding vehicle for the long play.
Seeing social networks as a branding vehicle also allows brands to emphasize the best measure. Instead of focusing on moving the customer out of the FaceBook environment, brands ought to instead focus on engagement. Status updates that are calls to action like shares of comments are effective. The study also demonstrates that each engagement is broadcast outwards, whereas a click that exits FaceBook ends when that customer bounces from the brand’s web site.
Most FaceBook users exist solely in their news feed. Venturing to apps or sidebar activities are not the normal pattern of use. Brands need to focus their activities to appear in the news feed. This also means having a large number of fans is irrelevant. Brands need to do things with that fan base. Even something as simple as asking questions is important and helpful to building the brand’s presence.
The study is interesting and illuminating. It also helps the social media agency because the whitepaper detailing the results is free. Using this whitepaper will help the agency condition its efforts for maximum return. It also helps the digital agency convince clients that immediate results are a short term and myopic way to measure effectiveness.